In the United States today there are approximately 50 million people who are caring at home for family members including elderly parents, spouses, and children with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses. Without this home-care, most of these cared for loved ones would require permanent placement in institutions or health care facilities at great cost to society.
Educating yourself about your loved one’s disability, health problem, or special needs is an important strategy. Identifying support groups, organizations, agencies, programs, services, and resources online and in the community that are available to assist you, your loved one, and your family is critical to your functioning and success as a family. Many caregivers experience “caregiver burnout” or “caregiver fatigue” which can leave them overwhelmed and exhausted. Knowing the causes and symptoms of burnout and fatigue, as well as taking time to care for yourself can be an important part of caregiving.